Category Archives: Jobs

Aaron Judy: Exterior/Interior Painter

Aaron Judy paints a local home.

Aaron Judy began his business, H2 Painting LLC, earlier this year.

“I started working in 8th grade at Max’s Way Station (Restaurant) washing dishes, and I’ve had a job ever since,” Judy said. ” I’ve spent my whole adult life working for someone. After five years at Timken (Company), my family and I decided that Friday was my last day of making money for someone else and putting my own business to the side… I decided to finally take the leap and become fully self-employed! I look forward to embracing it and working just as hard as I was for customers!”

“I began painting in the last few years, but officially began my business as H2 Painting in early 2019,” Judy said.

“I saw a need for painting in this area, and an opportunity for me to go ahead and start my business officially,” he said.  “It’s fulfilling to see people enjoy their home or business again, or maybe more than they ever have after they see it repainted.”

“I provide interior and exterior painting in residential or commercial settings,” Judy said.

Aaron Judy paints a sign in Fort Scott

He also provides metal building or barn painting, power washing and soft washing services, along with parking lot lining.

“I have done quite a few residential and commercial repaints,” he said. “I am currently getting more involved in new construction and commercial painting job settings and expanding our range and business rapidly.”

“I try to provide a quality job with an affordable price for my customers,” he said.

Judy is the owner and operator, who hires part-time time employees when necessary, depending on the job.

Contact info: 620-605-2769 or

Work Ready Students Is Goal of New Program: Employers Cooperation Needed

Fort Scott High School.

Workers are needed across the state to fill workforce needs.

The Kansas State Board of Education, working with Kansas legislators, are providing the opportunity for juniors in high school, including Fort Scott, to take assessments to help fill those workforce needs.

The title of the program is ACT Work Ready Community and is paid for by Kansas legislators in collaboration with the state board of education.

Students are offered two assessments for the program and can either take the ACT, or ACT WorkKeys, or both.

The program facilitators are hoping to fill job vacancies in Bourbon County.

“An opportunity was seen to provide a connection for local Bourbon County employers to gain understanding of the ACT and the ACT WorkKeys assessment to help fill and build their workforce,” USD 234 Superintendent Ted Hessong said.  “The opportunity for juniors to take the ACT assessments will continue this school year and for years to come.”

A career readiness certificate can be earned, after taking an assessment, which will help to evaluate future employees for the workforce skills needed.

The program allows employers to use it as a tool to see if the skills set will work for their need.

“ACT Work Ready Community is a program to provide Bourbon County the distinction of a county where the employers recognize the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate earned upon completion of taking the ACT WorkKeys assessment, as a tool to evaluate future employees,” Hessong said.

The basis of the certification: current and future workers earn the certificate and the employers recognize the credential.

“Employers can be the fuel to drive successful state and county Work Ready Communities initiatives simply by recognizing the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate®. And in doing so, they will have a more qualified workforce ready to fill their jobs,” according to the ACT Work Ready Communities website.

“The foundation of a community’s certification is based on individuals at the county level across the current, transitioning and emerging workforce, earning an ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate®…and employers recognizing the ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC®,” Hessong said. “(It) is a portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s WorkKeys® skills in workplace documents, applied math, and graphic literacy.”
A collaboration of local entities and employers will have two years to start reaching goals for the program.
“The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Bourbon County Economic Development, USD 234, Fort Scott Community College, and Bourbon County employers will have two years to attain goals set by ACT Work Ready in order to be recognized as an ACT Work Ready Community,” Hessong said.
For more information:

Cobalt Open Interviews Aug. 22

Job Fair and open interviews at
Cobalt MedPlans
THIS THURSDAY, August 22nd
Cobalt MedPlans is hiring!!
We are hosting a job fair and open interviews THIS THURSDAY, August 22nd from 2pm-7pm
at 2801 S. Horton St., Fort Scott, KS
We are looking for Claims Examiners and Customer Service Representatives
Cobalt MedPlans offers the following:
  • $12.50/hr. and up to start
  • Employer sponsored medical & dental
  • Employer paid disability & life insurance
  • Company sponsored 401(k) retirement plan with match
  • Paid holidays & vacation
  • Casual work environment
  • Performance incentives
  • Flexible schedule & work at home
For more info, call 620-220-1540 or email

Next Steps: Men Supporting Their Family

Next Steps co-coordinators Sue Emmons and David Goodyear will start weekly gatherings next week.

A local initiative to move fathers out of dependence to become self-supporting is restarting August 19.

Next Steps is a local program of Connections to Success that the Kansas government provides to work with men in transition from dependence.

New co-coordinators David Goodyear and Sue Emmons are starting a new term with the program, replacing Jean Tucker, who had to step down for health reasons.

“It’s a 14-week structured curriculum,” Goodyear said. “It has a three-day intensive ‘get to know you’, team building and skills assessment.”

“We are targeting men, but we are not exclusive,” Goodyear said. They work with women wanting to become self-sustaining as well.

Next Steps meets Mondays from 5-7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Scott.

First United Methodist Church at 2nd Street and National Avenue, is the venue for Next Steps.

“The program is a collaboration of churches,” Goodyear said.

It is comprised of facilitators, who lead the discussion on a chosen topic, such as budgeting tools, conflict resolution, how to present yourself to an employer, how to do a resume, etc.

“We focus on personal, developmental, relational, vocational and spiritual,” Goodyear said.

Other people in the program are dedicated to helping with transporting participants to the meetings, and childcare during the meetings.

Then there are mentors-people who walk beside another person.

As a mentor, he has worked to develop relationships to help participants with decision making on such subjects as managing money or family conflicts, he said.

Many are battling isolation, lack of value and lacking a sense of belonging, Goodyear said.

“There is dignity in providing for themselves…We’ve had pretty good success,” he said.

Participants must learn such attributes as the mutual respect of showing up on time and not disrupting in group settings, Goodyear said.

Ages of participants in the past have varied from people in their 20s to those in their 60s.

For Emmons, she had been aware of the program and had referred people in prior jobs and was asked to join Next Steps as a facilitator/mentor about six months ago.

For Goodyear, the most practical way to show someone the Gospel of Jesus Christ is building relationships. He has been in the role of both facilitator and mentor as well for about five years.

To him, 1 John 3:18, is the inspiration: “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

For more information: contact Goodyear through Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene at 620-223-0131 or Emmons at 620-224-8096.

Small Businesses Encouraged With New Partnership Offer

NetWork Kansas Logo

The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is initiating a partnership program that aims to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment in the community.

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture, according to

The big-picture vision for this initiative is to move Bourbon County forward as a great place to start and grow a small business and where existing businesses have access to all the resources they need to grow and achieve their potential,” Bill Michaud said.

Michaud is the chairman of the Chamber’s Business Resource and Development Committee.

Bill Michaud is the chairman of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Business Resource and Development Committee. Submitted photo.


He and Chamber Executive Director Lindsay Madison are the primary workers to bring this initiative to Fort Scott, Michaud said.

“Lindsay Madison did the work to complete the application which resulted in us being selected,” he said. ” She and I have been the primary ones immersed in the details.”

Lindsay Madison is the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. Submitted photo.

“The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce representing Bourbon County has been selected by Network Kansas as a partner in the E-Community Program,  a partnership program that aims to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment in partner communities throughout the state,” Michaud said. The Chamber was notified in June 2019.

“Bourbon County was awarded this partnership opportunity through a competitive application process in which 14 Kansas communities were vying for selection and only five new e-community partners were selected,” he said.

 “The revolving loan fund and other E-Community resources can be the catalyst to build onto the many great improvements which have occurred in our community in recent years, “Michaud said. “This program is a resource that could help fund additional rehabilitation of downtown buildings which are currently very difficult to finance.”

 E-Community loan funds can be used for building acquisition, renovations, inventory, expansion, relocation, equipment and other purposes.

One of the barriers to starting or growing a business is access to funding.

  “The largest component of the E-Community Partnership is providing a locally controlled loan fund used to enable new business and existing businesses to overcome that barrier,” Michaud said.  “There also additional resources available through Network Kansas to help businesses of all sizes including a variety of programs through StartupKS.”

The E-Community program also provides funding for several approved educational and personal development programs. 

“These programs are geared toward teaching and developing potential and existing entrepreneurs,” he said.

Click below for a link to that inventory of programs:

The E-Community program was created through a Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program, according to the Fort Scott Chamber website.

Application Details

Applicants may include startup businesses and existing business purchases and/or expansions.

The minimum loan request is $5,000 with a $45,000 maximum amount available per applicant business, subject to availability. The terms for loans issued in the fiscal year 2019-20 will be 5 percent rate over a 10-year maximum term.

Applicants will be asked if the entrepreneur or business has a tax liability in arrears with the Kansas Department of Revenue or the IRS, or been involved in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.

Applicants will be asked to provide relevant details such as length of time in business, business name or entity changes, number of jobs to be created or retained, etc.

All business plans will be submitted with the application and should include key elements such as:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Description
  • Products or Services
  • Short- and Long-Term Goals
  • Project Financing
  • Management
  • Ownership
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Description of Major & Prospective Customers
  • Description of Market & Competition
  • Financial Projections

Contact the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Pittsburg State University for assistance in developing a business plan, 620-235-4920.

How the application will be judged

The Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Financial Review Board will use the following rubric to score all applications in the Bourbon County E-Community Program.

Criteria Strength (1-4) Weight (% of total) Weighted Score
Financial Soundness


Owner/Operator Experience


Business Plan


Owner/3rd Party Funding


Community Commitment





4 = Exceeds expectations 3 = Meets expectations

2= Partially meets expectations 1 = Does not meet expectations

Application Checklist

Be sure to include the following with your completed application:

  1. $50 Non-refundable Application Fee
  2. Business Plan including Financial Projections (1-year projection of profit & loss by month and 3 years of annual projections)
  3. Financial Statements (if an existing business)
  • Income statement and balance sheet from within the past 90 days
  • Income statements, balance sheets, and complete business tax returns for the two (2) prior year-ends
  • A current list of business obligations
  1. Applicant Resume
  2. Personal Financial Statement from within the past 90 days
  3. Three Letters of Reference
  4. Other documents relevant to the project
  • Proposed purchase agreement
  • The existing or proposed franchise agreement
  • Existing or proposed lease agreement
  • Real estate contract
  • Contractor bids
  • Appraisals and environmental reports
  • Partnership agreement
  • Articles of incorporation & bylaws

History Of Initiative

The initiative was established as a part of the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to stimulate entrepreneurship and small business growth as a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas.

Click here to learn more about Network Kansas and E-Communities.

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is located at  231 E. Wall St., Fort Scott, KS 66701 and can be reached at  620-223-3566  or email

NetWork Kansas Logo

Peerless Expands Assembly Lines: Needs More Workers

Peerless Products is hiring.

Peerless Products, 2403 S. Main, is the largest employer in Fort Scott with 420 workers.

And they need more assembly lines to grow their business, according to Dave Elliott, Peerless Products Culture and Morale Manager.

Founded in Fort Scott, Kansas in 1952,  they manufacturer high-performance aluminum architectural and commercial windows for new construction, replacement and historical construction, according to their website.

“We need to have the capacity to run more products through, to continue to grow,” Elliott said.

“We purchased the old American Standard warehouse in Nevada (MO) on I-49, we will use that as a staging warehouse,” Elliott said. “That frees up space in the Fort Scott facility for another assembly line.”

The employees the company is looking for?

“Somebody that has a good work ethic and a willingness to learn and grow,” Elliott said. In addition, applicants must have a valid driver’s license, and a high school diploma or GED.

The starting-out wage at the plant is $11 per hour, and “they usually work more than 40 hours a week.”

Day shift is from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“The hours on Friday depends on how much of the product is complete,” Elliott said.

Peerless offers a benefits package that offers health insurance, life insurance, a 401K and an “astounding profit-sharing program,” Elliot said.

Peerless also offers “employee care” activities such as chair massage a couple of times a year and currently are giving employees 20 lb. meat bundles. This processed beef and pork comes from what the company purchases at county fairs of 4-H animals.

Today, Aug. 9, Elliot and Karen Contreras will be at the Ellis Fine Art Center on the campus of Fort Scott Community College for a job fair.

Ellis Fine Arts Center

From 2-6 p.m. interested applicants are asked to bring their resume and come for a visit with the two Peerless Products representatives.


Young Entrepreneur: Hannah Vann

Hannah Vann, owner of Quick & Clean Auto Detail. Photos Submitted by Erin Vann.

This is part of a series that features area entrepreneurs under 30 years of age.

If you know of someone deserving this publicity, email with your name, why you are nominating the entrepreneur, their name and email/phone number.


Hannah Vann of Fort Scott, 16, was nominated to be featured as a young entrepreneur by her aunt, Trisha Newton.
In May 2018 Vann started her business, Quick & Clean Auto Detail, working from her home.

“Last year when trying to work while being involved in sports and school she was finding it hard to find a job that worked well with her schedule,” Newton said. “So she decided to start detailing cars during her spare time.”

Hannah said the original reason for learning to detail cars was an argument with her mom.

“I started my business after my mother and I got into an argument over me being sassy,” Vann said. “As a punishment she made me clean our Suburban.”

“She and my aunt always said it would be nice to have a good clean, rather than a $100 detail, of their cars,” Vann said. “I realized I had an amazing opportunity to start a successful business, that also worked around all of my sports and school activities.”

Hannah is the daughter of Tarrell and Erin Vann.

“The unique part about her detailing is that she is not charging a ton like a normal detail costs, instead making it an affordable, quick clean,” Newton said.  “Your basic vacuum/wipe down etc. for those busy people on the go and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg!”

The service includes an interior vacuum,  and cleaning of windows, floor mats, dash, console, doors, door and seat trim.

“I charge $35 for cars and trucks and SUV’s start at $45,”  Vann said.

“She has kept very busy all summer and continues to work hard for her customers,” Newton said.

“I have approximately 40 costumers,” Vann said.

Van can be reached at 620-224-8555.

Business Incubator: Offering Office Space to Entrepreneurs/Professionals To Start Up

The new Bourbon County Business Incubator offices  are located in the old SRS Building at 108 W. Second Street, Fort Scott.

A business incubator is being developed by Bourbon County to attract new entrepreneurs and professionals back to the area.

What is a business incubator?

It is a facility established to nurture young, startup firms during their early months or years, according to It can provide affordable space, shared offices and services, hands-on management training, marketing support and, often, access to some form of financing.

“The business incubator is still under development,” Bourbon County’s Economic Director Jody Hoenor, said. “But is available… it’s a county-wide service.”

“The vision is to have a workspace for a professional business, someone who needs office space,” she said. “The first six months are free, then rent is negotiable. The maximum stay is two years.”

“The point is to get their business up and going without initial opening costs,” she said

Skilled professionals such as web designers, architects, and lawyers. for example, who want to start a business, are the target for the incubator.

Retail would not be appropriate for the space, she said.

“Shane Walker (Bourbon County Information Technology) and Justin Meeks (Bourbon County Counselor) have been working on this before I started in October 2018,” Hoenor said.

There are six office spaces available, one with a reception area attached.

The largest of the offices shown by Bourbon County Economic Director Jody Hoenor is 11 feet by 23 feet. The other offices are smaller, but each has a window.

There is a lobby, conference room, kitchen space and bathroom that goes with the office spaces, and includes high-speed internet access.

Bourbon County Economic Director Jody Hoenor opens the door to the reception area, next to the largest office space available for skilled professionals to start up a business.

Hoenor can be reached at 210 S National Ave.,

Fort Scott, KS 66701, or 1-620-223-3800 or

1-620-215-5725 Mobile, or


Bourbon County repurposed the building at 108 W. Second Street, just west of the courthouse. Years ago it housed the Social and Rehabilitation Services offices, most recently the Bourbon County Attorney had an office there until that office was moved to the second floor of the courthouse.

Currently, the building is being used also by the community corrections office and the driver’s license bureau.




Express Employment Professionals: Help With Recruiting Employees

Kai Runnells, Express Employment Professionals Business Developer in her office at 119 S. Main, June 2019.

All across America, unemployment is low.

Nationally, total nonfarm payroll employment went up in May 2019 with approximately 75,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics June 9. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services and in health care.


In Bourbon County, the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, according to the website


A recent business opened an office in Fort Scott to help other businesses find suitable employees in this era where job seekers have diminished.


In April 2019, Express Employment Professionals opened an office in Fort Scott at 119 S. Main.  The franchise is based out of Independence,  since 2004.

The location of Express Employment Professionals, in between Fort Scott City Hall and  Crooner’s Lounge on Main Street.

“The staff and company provide businesses with their workforce needs,” Kai Rannells, business developer with EEP and the local representative, said. Rannells can be reached at 620-644-5050.

“There is a small fee for businesses,” she said. “This covers payroll burden liability. (The fee) varies on types of jobs.”

Because of the low employment rate, candidates without jobs need more coaching, Rannells said.

“Businesses are afraid of what it could cost to train and then retain employees,” she said. “That cost will fall on us. When a company brings in a new employee it costs a fair amount of money and if the employee doesn’t end up lasting, they are out that amount.”

EEP provides temporary or contract staff and do temporary to hire staffing.

“That’s where they start out temporary, and after probation is met, the company is able to hire them as a permanent employee,” Rannells said. “A lot of companies do that to make sure it’s a good fit for their team. We also do direct hires and professional searches.”

“We like to focus on helping people find the right candidate and job seekers find good careers,” she said.

“If someone is looking for a job, we do interviews to see what company would be a good fit of those hiring and we try to place them,” Rannells said. “It is a free service for job seekers.”

For more information about the services and EEP:

Ribbon Cutting For Job Program At Women’s Correctional Facility

Women’s correctional facility to hold ribbon cutting for coding program

Students to receive special message from Jason Jones, alumni graduate of The Last Mile program


Topeka Correctional Facility will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 11, to celebrate the female offenders who have reached the halfway point in the inaugural coding class at 9 a.m.


Keynote Speaker, Secretary of Commerce, David Toland, will recognize the benefits of preparing more people for in-demand tech jobs, which aids business recruitment efforts. State officials and business leaders as well as business leaders from the tech industry will take part in the ceremony that will feature a tour of the classroom and facility.


Jason Jones is lead virtual instructor for the San Francisco-based, non-profit The Last Mile (TLM) which is partnering with the Kansas Department of Corrections and its education contractor, Greenbush, to bring the program to Topeka Correctional Facility. Jason will bring a message of inspiration, since he has been in the same situation as the students only one year ago and is now succeeding post-release.


The 15 women in the program’s first 12-month class are learning HTML, CCS and JavaScript to help them gain access to high-demand jobs upon release. Beyond technical skills, students also are learning business soft skills, including teamwork and communication.


“The Last Mile is proud to provide our coding program to the women at Topeka Correctional facility in partnership with KDOC and Greenbush,” said Chris Redlitz, TLM co-founder. “The Last Mile graduates will return to their communities with marketable skills, new opportunities and renewed hope for the future.”

WHO:        Topeka Correctional Facility staff and inmates, Acting Secretary of Corrections Charles (Chuck) Simmons, Secretary of Commerce David Toland, Greenbush Associate Executive Director Stacie Clarkson, The Last Mile (TLM) Co-founder Chris Redlitz and TLM Lead Virtual Instructor Jason Jones. State officials and business leaders from the tech industry also will take part.


WHAT:     Ribbon cutting ceremony for The Last Mile’s coding and technology training program at Topeka Correctional Facility


WHEN:     Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 9 a.m.


WHERE:  Topeka Correctional Facility, 815 S.E. Rice Road


Media are welcome to attend. Please note that all attendees will pass through a metal detector. Cash over $50, mobile phones, tobacco products and weapons are prohibited.


Topeka Correctional Facility, the state’s only correctional facility for women, has a population of 920.


About The Last Mile

The Last Mile (TLM) is a non-profit founded in 2010 at San Quentin to address the societal impact of incarceration as a drain on human and fiscal resources. TLM is the first full stack coding program inside US prisons. Its mission is to provide marketable skills that result in gainful employment and core belief is that having a job is the key to successful reentry and breaking the cycle of incarceration. TLM currently operates facilities in California, Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma.


The program provides computer coding training to prepare its students for release into today’s high-tech environment. There is a projected shortage of nearly 1 million software engineering jobs by 2020. TLM graduates will be well positioned to qualify for many of these technology related jobs. To learn more visit: